Seedheads for Winter Interest

As flowers fade, dishevelled beds and borders almost beg to be tidied. It is, however, the one time in a gardener's calendar to leave well alone. For amongst the dying foliage and spent blooms is an array of ornamental seed heads which not only add different forms and textures, but also provide food for insects and birds during wintry months. Ranging from robust shapes to delicate tracery, many seed pods, capsules and hips are surprisingly resilient, lasting for months on end. Alliums, now reduced to skeletal shadows, linger alongside aquilegias's twisted seed pods, filigree fennel heads, and the pepperpot vestiges of poppies. The beauty of frosted ornamental grasses prompted Piet Oudolf to remark that a plant is only worth growing if it looks good when dead.

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